Panegyric on the Fourth Consulship of Emperor Honorius (defeat of Alaric in Arcadia)

Author Claudius Claudianus
Subject Poetic Literary References

Claudius Claudianus, Panegyric on the Fourth Consulship of Emperor Honorius, lines 459-483 (written A.D. 398)

[describing the aftermath of Stilicho's defeat of Alaric's Goths in A.D. 397 near Mt. Pholoe, roughly 35 km northwest of Lykaion:]

Thou biddest Stilicho after restoring peace in Gaul save Greece from ruin. Vessels cover the Ionian sea; scarce can the wind fill out so many sails. Neptune with favouring currents attends the fleet that is to save Corinth, and young Palaemon, so long an exile from the shores of his isthmus, returns in safety with his mother to the harbour. The blood of barbarians washes their wagons; the ranks of skin-clad warriors are mowed down, some by disease, some by the sword. The glades of Lycaeus, the dark and boundless forests of Erymanthus, are not enough to furnish such countless funeral pyres; Maenalus rejoices that the axe has stripped her of her woods to provide fuel for such a holocaust. Let Ephyre rise from her ashes while Spartan and Arcadian, now safe, tread under foot the heaps of slain; let Greece's sufferings be made good and her weary land be allowed to breathe once more. That nation, wider spread than any that dwells in northern Scythia, that found Athos too small and Thrace too narrow when it crossed them, that nation, I say, was conquered by thee and thy captains, and now, in the persons of the few that survive, laments its own overthrow. One hill now shelters a people whose hordes scarce the whole world could once contain. Athirst and hemmed within their rampart they sought in vain for the stolen waters, that, once within our foemen’s reach, Stilicho had turned aside in another course, and commanded the stream, that marvelled at its strange channel amid unknown ways, to shift its altered track.

Latin Text

Post otia Galli
limitis hortaris Graias fulcire ruinas. 360
Ionium tegitur velis ventique laborant
tot curvare sinus servaturasque Corinthum
prosequitur facili Neptunus gurgite classes,
et puer, Isthmiaci iam pridem litoris exul,
secura repetit portus cum matre Palaemon.
plaustra cruore natant: metitur pellita iuventus:
pars morbo, pars ense perit. non lustra Lycaei,
non Erymantheae iam copia sufficit umbrae
innumeris exusta rogis, nudataque ferro
sic flagrasse suas laetantur Maenala silvas. 370
excutiat cineres Ephyre, Spartanus et Arcas
tutior exanguis pedibus proculcet acervos
fessaque pensatis respiret Graecia poenis!
gens, qua non Scythicos diffusior ulla Triones
incoluit, cui parvus Athos angustaque Thrace,
cum transiret, erat, per te viresque tuorum
fracta ducum lugetque sibi iam rara superstes,
et, quorum turbae spatium vix praebuit orbis,
uno colle latent. sitiens inclusaque vallo
ereptas quaesivit aquas, quas hostibus ante 380
contiguas alio Stilicho deflexerat actu
mirantemque novas ignota per avia valles
iusserat averso fluvium migrare meatu.